Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in uncle’s shooting, receives 20-year prison term

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A man who shot and killed his uncle after a physical altercation March 2 was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday following a plea of guilty to manslaughter.

Melchor Labrada Hernandez, 24, pleaded guilty with the assistance of Texarkana attorney Jeff Harrelson at a hearing Tuesday morning at the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston, Texas, before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell. Hernandez was charged with murder but was permitted to plead guilty to manslaughter following consultation with the victim’s family, First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said.
Hernandez received the maximum punishment allowed for manslaughter and will likely be deported upon release as court records indicate Immigration, Customs and Enforcement has placed a hold on him.

Hernandez, 24, spoke to his uncle on the phone a few minutes before midnight March 1, according to a probable cause affidavit. Labrada was reportedly at his home drinking with friends when he took the call and was encouraged not to drive. But Labrada grabbed his keys and headed to Hernandez’ residence on Summerhill Road in Texarkana, Texas, telling others that Hernandez wanted Labrada to pay a debt, had gotten angry and asked for a fight. Labrada drove from his home on Waterman Street to Hernandez’ home in the 2300 block of Summerhill in the first hour of March 2.

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Witnesses reported that Labrada was on top of Hernandez and punching him in the face before the fight ended. Labrada laughed at the sight of Hernandez pointing a .22 rifle at him right before he started “clutching his chest.”

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